The country with the highest population is China.
According to a July 2016 estimate, the population of China stands at 1.3 billion, about 100 million more than that of India, which is in second place. The majority of Chinese are of Han ethnicity; the Han people comprise over 90% of the population.
Because China is also one of the largest countries in the world, the population density is not too high for the mainland Chinese. China sits at number 80 in the rankings for most densely populated countries of the world.
However, the Chinese territories of Macau and Hong Kong are among the most densely populated areas in the world. Hong Kong has over 6,500 people living per sq km.
Macau is, however, the most populated area in the world. The figures are staggering – over 20,000 people per sq km. Contrast this with China’s neighbour, Mongolia, where the density is a mere 2 people per sq km.
About 5% of China’s population lives in the urban cities of Beijing and Shanghai. In the second half of the 20th century, there was a massive surge in the number of Chinese citizens moving to urban cities. Consequently, China now has more than half its people living in cities, a huge change from its largely rural and agricultural structure up until the 1970’s.
This growing workforce, in turn, contributed to the economic growth of China, pushing its economic growth rates up among the fastest growing economies in the world. But the surging population rates rang alarm bells for the government. Consequently, it imposed a ruling in 1979 that allowed a couple to only have one child. This one-child policy was strictly followed in China for over three decades.
With this step, China’s population growth rate began to fall, and presently China ranks 160th in the world by population growth rate. The fear in China now is that, in about 40 years, most of the population will be above 65. The productive workforce is expected to drop massively. With this in mind, the government changed its population policy in 2015: From 1st January, 2016, couples were permitted to have two children, instead of just one. The aim is to build up a productive workforce in the years to come.